Freedom and the right to die free inquiry , vol. 22, no. 2, may 15, 2002


The isolation of the Netherlands as the only country in which voluntary euthanasia is legal is about to end. In October 2001 the Belgian Senate voted by almost a 2:1 margin to allow doctors to act on a patient's request for assistance in dying. The legislation is expected to pass the lower house shortly. That the Netherlands' closest neighbor is likely to be the next country to take this step should provide food for thought among those who have denounced voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands as rife with abuses. If that were really the case, why would the country that is better placed than all others to know what goes on in the Netherlands – not only because of its geographical proximity, but because most of its people are Dutch-speaking – be ready to copy the Dutch model?

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